Located in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, the Ajanta Caves are about 29 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments dating from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. It is located on the side of a rocky cliff that is on the north side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur in the Deccan plateau.The Ajanta Caves constitute ancient monasteries and worship halls of Buddhist traditions carved into a 250 feet wall of rock. According to the textual records, these caves served as a monsoon retreat for monks, as well as a resting site for merchants and pilgrims in ancient India. These cave sites are mentioned in memoirs of several medieval era Chinese Buddhist travelers to India and by a Mughal era official of Akbar era in early 17th century. The Cave site was accidentally discovered in 1819 by a colonial British officer on a tiger hunting party. The Caves 16, 17, 1 and 2 of Ajanta shows the finest example of the surviving ancient Indian wall-painting. Since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India.
The caves are carved out of flood basalt rock of a cliff, part of the Deccan traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous geological period. The rock is layered horizontally, and somewhat variable in quality. This variation within the rock layers required the artists to amend their carving methods and plans in places. The sculpture artists likely worked at both excavating the rocks and making the intricate carvings o...View more
pillars, roof and idols. According to Walter M. Spink and older accounts, the caves were built in two phases, the first group starting around the 2nd century BC, while the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE or all in a brief period of 460 to 480. A grand gateway to the site was carved, at the apex of the gorge's horseshoe between caves 15 and 16, as approached from the river, and it is decorated with elephants on either side and a naga or protective Naga (snake) deity. The majority of the caves are vihara halls with symmetrical square plans. Each vihara hall have attached smaller square dormitory cells cut into the walls. A vast majority of the caves were carved in the second period, wherein a shrine or sanctuary is appended at the rear of the cave, centred on a large statue of the Buddha, along with exuberantly detailed reliefs and deities near him as well as on the pillars and walls, all carved out of the natural rock. These caves are often called monasteries.This change reflects the shift from Hinayana to Mahayana Buddhism. The central square space of the interior ofthe viharas is defined by square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister. Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha statue.
Timings : Morning 09:00 AM To 05:30 PM
Ajanta Caves remains open throughout year with weekly Holiday of Monday
Cave Entry Ticket Charges:
1. For Indians below 15 years : FREE of Charge
2. For Indians above 15 years : Rs. 30/- per head
3. For SAARC Citizens (Bhutan/ Nepal/ Bangladesh/ Myanmar/ Sri Lanka/ Maldives/ Pakistan) - Rs. 30 per person
For Citizens from Countries other than SAARC: Rs. 500 per person
4. For Photo Camera/ Video Camera: Rs. 5/- (Camera to be used without flash)
The culture of Aurangabad city is heavily influenced by Hyderabad. The old city still retains the cultural flavor and charms of Muslim culture of Hyderabad. Its influence is reflected in the language and cuisine of the locals. Although Marathi and Urdu are the principal languages of the city, they are spoken in Dakhni - Hyderabadi Urdu dialect. Aurangabadi food is much like Mughlai or Hyderabadi cuisine with its fragrant pulao and Biryani. Meat cooked in fresh spices and herbs is a specialty, as are the delectable sweets. The local cuisine is a blend of Mughlai and Hyderabadi cuisine, with an influence of the spices and herbs of the Marathwada region.
Aurangabad district, Maharashtra 431117
Currently Aurangabad is the nearest Air point for Ajanta. It can be reached from New Delhi and Mumbai, International Airport. Indian airlines as well as Jet Airways have daily flight to Aurangabad from New Delhi and Mumbai. Jalgaon has also developed its Airport. Soon it will also start. Ajanta Caves is far near from Jalgaon Airport while a bit distant from Aurangabad Airport.
Jalgaon is the best place to drop in for Ajanta if you like Rail journey. It is centre point of all major railway stations of India and has Bhusaval (Just 28kms from Jalgaon) as second largest depot of railways in entire Asia. All Super Fast, express, mail and passenger trains stops at Bhusaval and most of them at Jalgaon as well. One can check online status of availability of reservation on Indian railways official website. From Jalgaon, one can pick up Taxi/ state transport department bus to reach Ajanta.
There is no rituals are performing right now in this temple